Wednesday, 31 October 2012

365/30 lists - review of the month

So, how did I do with my goals from day 1?
  1. Complete 365/30 lists and publish the day's post on time - done. I think previously completing the A-Z Challenge helped me with this, and I wrote and scheduled all my posts pretty much in advance
  2. Finish off prep for my tax return and file it online - done
  3. Carry on with my daily meditation - done
  4. Get my email to zero - done (and I'm finding it much easier so far to keep doing this)
  5. Work on my declutter project more - done
  6. Increase my running mileage slowly up to two runs a week - postponed as I think I just need to focus on running once a week and enjoying it for the time being (and I've been ill this month which is never a good time to up mileage)
  7. Have some life coaching from my awesome friend, Tanya - postponed but hopefully will be done before Christmas
  8. Sort out what I'm doing with my filofaxes - slowly getting there and more here (still very much a work in progress). I'm actually enjoying the process and realise my set up doesn't have to be perfect
  9. Limit my spending to essential purchases only - nope! I bought a filofax (more to follow on Philofaxy), but also sold one this month, so they cancel each other out, right?? Nah, I didn't achieve this goal but I've kept a note of when I've considered buying something and I found it actually didn't happen that much. So, what did I think about getting but managed to resist?
    • A couple of books - I won't be getting them as I've forgotten what they were, so they can't have been that important
    • Some stationery - reduced Martha Stewart stuff. Nuff said and I may buy some tabs for my filo as the ones I looked at in WH Smith were £8.00! (I don't think so)
    • Running socks - I will buy these as good socks can make such a difference and I do need them. 
Thank you to the lovely Imy for setting October's questions and I hope that you've enjoyed reading my posts :) 

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

365/30 lists - dream bikes...

I passed my test in 2001 and I've owned a Smart and a Ford Ka since then. Both great little cars, but I'm really a biker at heart despite selling my Suzuki 600 Bandit when I got my Ka. I really consider my car as a practical vehicle as they're more convenient for getting about in bad weather, for doing the shopping and giving people a lift. Therefore, I've decided to change this slightly to be about what bikes I'd quite like. I don't think I have a dream bike as such, but I could definitely see myself with one of these :)

Suzuki GSR750
More info here.

Triumph Street Triple
More info here.

Harley Sportster Iron 883
I never thought I'd fancy a Harley, but I do think this one is a bit tasty!

Monday, 29 October 2012

365/30 lists - how I have my drink in Starbucks/Costa etc.

I don't go to coffee shops that often, but when I do I use it as a real treat and read a book and take my time. Depending on my mood, I'll have either a regular latte or a peppermint tea.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

365/30 lists - 5 things to do in November

  1. Go to an aikido course 
  2. Go away for our friend's birthday for the weekend
  3. Attend the meeting with Filofax 
  4. Go to my work's annual conference
  5. Do more decluttering!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Win a filofax!

As part of the Filofax holiday essentials challenge, I had three filos to create a moodboard around and I just haven't got round to doing anything with them since. I gave away the kingfisher blue Metropol at the Philofaxy London meet up and have decided it's time to find the others new homes :)

Thank you for all your entries. This competition has now closed and details of the winner can be found here.

365/30 lists - languages I would like to learn

  1. I studied Russian at college and would like to have a refresher as I'm extremely rusty now
  2. I wasn't bad at French at one point, so I'd like to also get back into it
  3. My Mum is Chinese, but I don't speak any unfortunately (other than stuff like hello or Happy New Year) so I'd like to learn some Cantonese.

Friday, 26 October 2012

365/30 lists - pets you would like

This is our cat, Floopy:

Playing in the garden

And still playing
She's a bit crazy, is very sociable and loves laps, so I really don't feel the need to have any more pets at the moment.
However I could see myself getting some more gerbils in the future :)

Thursday, 25 October 2012

365/30 lists - accessories I wish I owned

As mentioned here, I actually want to reduce my belongings so my short answer is none!
My plan is to sell or give away as much as possible, and then maybe I will consider if there's anything that I'd like. I've created a 30 day waiting list in my filofax, with the idea that I put an item on this list and reconsider after the waiting time to see if I still really want it. Most of the time items don't even make it to the list as I know that I'm not that serious about them.

October is meant to be an essentials-only purchases month, so I'm planning on introducing more of these to help me be more mindful of the purchases I do make.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

365/30 lists - ideal jobs

  • Dim sum taster :)
  • I think I'd enjoy doing the accounts for a charity
  • Earning money from writing in some way
  • Working in a bookshop
  • Doing shiatsu in a hospital, doctor's surgery or centre/shelter
  • Selling more filofaxes and extending my stock to stationery - it would always be fun when more stock arrives! 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

365/30 lists - sports I want to try

  • I love the sea, so would like to learn how to surf one day
  • We have some friends who do Eagle claw kung fu, so I'd love to attend a class with them
  • Zumba sounds like fun :)
  • I could easily get into extreme sports, so I have a suspicion that I'll get round to a bungee jump or skydive one of these days 
  • I'm trying not to get interested in triathlons, which is maybe a strange thing to say. I really enjoy running, cycling and swimming but I find that I sometimes have trouble taking on enough calories with just running, so I'm planning to stay away from doing all three more...
  • There's always room for more martial arts - so far I've studied or had a go at tai chi, taekwondo, Wing Chun kung fu, Goju Ryu karate, kick boxing and finally found my way to aikido.  

Monday, 22 October 2012

365/30 lists - colours of rainbow in order of most favourite to least

  1. Violet - a lighter shade of purple is my favourite colour
  2. Red - a very close second and sometimes number one, depending on my mood
  3. Green - this colour has definitely grown on me (no pun actually intended) and my favourite coat is this colour
  4. Indigo - sometimes any purple colour is good
  5. Orange - close to red, so can be nice
  6. Blue - reminds me of the summer sky and the turquoise of the sea whilst scuba diving
  7. Yellow - such a cheery colour (to paint bathrooms or kitchens in), but really not so sure about wearing it or for a filofax?

Sunday, 21 October 2012

365/30 lists - foods to try

I really love my food, so if I fancy trying something I normally go ahead and just have it :)

  • I haven't eaten much sushi really, so I'd like to go to a proper sushi restaurant sometime
  • We're visiting Malaysia (where my Mum was born) again next year, so it will be an excuse for me to try out some new dim sum and more Malaysian/Chinese dishes
  • I think we had bubble tea in Malaysia last time, but I'd like to try it again
  • Fermented shark, for when I visit Iceland again. 
And that was my extremely short list...

Saturday, 20 October 2012

365/30 lists - favourite character from films

I actually found this quite a hard post to write as I love watching films, but have never considered who my favourite characters might be. Here's my slightly random list:
  • Master Li Mu Bai from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - actually anything pretty much with Chow Yun-Fat in as I think he's awesome  
  • Dr. Kate McTiernan from Kiss the Girls - it isn't the best film, but I really like her character as she's a strong woman who refuses to be a victim
  • Leeloo from the Fifth Element - I've always loved this film and her character, and it all comes down to love in the end :)
  • Xiao Mei from House of Flying Daggers - beautiful and deadly, something I aspire to slightly with my martial arts training!     

Friday, 19 October 2012

The Goddess Haven e-course

I've been a member of Leonie Dawson's Goddess Circle for quite some time now, but to be honest I've done diddly squat with it. I signed up to the emails for the business goddess and the creative goddess e-courses, and when the time came I just couldn't get going and think I did a bit of the first week in each and gave up. I know that there's lots of amazing stuff available in the Circle, but have come to the conclusion that it just wasn't the right time for me. There's also lots of free goodies available from Leonie's site too.

As mentioned previously, I'm on a bit of a mission to declutter and concentrate on what I enjoy in my life, so it feels the right time now to join in with the upcoming Goddess Haven e-course, which begins on the 1st November :)

365/30 lists - today was amazing because...

  • I saw 4 Canada geese flying quite low overhead this morning (they're my favourite bird)
  • The kettle at work had just boiled when I got into the kitchen this morning, yay
  • I managed to get myself out of bed and off to work, as I've been feeling quite yucky whilst fighting off some lurgy this week
  • I had hot croissants for breakfast (purchased for me by my lovely man)
  • I'm about to curl up on the sofa with my cat, a cuppa, ginger biscuits, my filofax and Making It All Work (I'd normally be at aikido practise now, but have decided to stay home due to yuckiness)
  • We're going to have chicken, rice and veggies for dinner - my all-time favourite meal as it's scrummy and reminds me of my Mum cooking it
  • I generally feel very blessed with my life currently. I think I've been focussing a little too much on things I want to improve, but I'm very lucky and have already come so far in my self-development :)  

Thursday, 18 October 2012

365/30 lists - favourite quotes/sayings

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it's called the present.

I am mind itself.
If I hold positive thoughts in my mind, good things are likely to happen.
Holding negative thoughts in my mind works against my best interests.
Therefore, even if my body suffers physically, my mind remains optimistic.
Even if I encounter obstacles, my mind is never defeated.
Daily I fill my heart with thoughts of joy, gratitude and hope.
I face each new day with a bright and optimistic spirit, which I express in word and deed.
I have faith in life, and life responds in kind.

Let go or be dragged.

We must become the change we want to see in the world.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

365/30 lists - what is in your happy place?

I've had hypnotherapy and trance sessions from my brother-in-law and Dan Russell. During one session with my brother-in-law, he asked me to call to mind what my safe or happy space might be. Immediately I thought of a walled garden with citrus trees and patios stones warm to the touch from the beautiful sunny day. As I've meditated over the years, this imaginary place has become more detailed as time has gone on.

I walk down the cool and shady granite steps into the garden, holding my hand up to shield my eyes as I acclimatise to the warm and bright sunlight. The ginger cat is in its usual place, laid out asleep on the stone bench and my cat is waiting for me, greeting me with a chirrup and and a sideways tail swipe. Running my fingers through her silken fur, it amuses me that she has followed me through from reality to this imagined world with no cat biscuits. I I take off my boots and wiggle my white toes on the warm stones, luxuriating in the heat and feeling of freedom after walking home in the cold and rain.  

Years ago, I used to spend my time here sharing the stone bench with the cats, but my imagination has now created inviting blue-striped hammocks suspended over soft and verdant grass. I slide into the nearest one and gently close my eyes, letting the workday fade away in the heat and warmth of this sacred place. Sometimes it's completely silent here, and I let the absence of sound rejuvenate me after the cacophony of everyday living.    

I wait for my husband. He walks out into the sunlight smiling and I run into his arms. His eyes are bright, incandescent with life and energy, and I weep with joy and relief to see him whole once again.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

365/30 lists - what I was doing when I was 16

This would have been my final year of secondary school, finishing off coursework, taking my GCSEs and going on to sixth form college in the autumn. I spent the following summer mostly in Cornwall, but I can't really remember doing that much the year before starting college.

I remember this being a bit of a tricky time for me. I felt like I'd just properly settled down at secondary school as I had a nice group of friends, was getting on well with my studies and was feeling happier and more confident. My friends seemed more excited about starting college, but I think I was quite apprehensive and didn't feel ready for it.

It's weird to think back to then, as it's not really a time that I think much about now. These days, I'll talk to pretty much anybody but I was much more shy at aged 16 and spent some time not feeling like I fitted in very well, wandering about the campus or reading a book. However, I did make some friends and started going out with my first boyfriend that winter which was a bit of a shock! My confidence level around the opposite sex was pretty much zero. I'd always had quite a few male friends, but for a long time it never occurred to me that they might find me attractive. We were out in town (possibly for bonfire night) and this friend just started holding my hand and that was it really. He was popular at college, so it was a big confidence boost that someone like that would be interested in me.

I really enjoyed the following summer in Cornwall. We all bought open return tickets to Penzance and met up in Polzeath, spending the time camping and getting back on the train to visit different places. We came back when we ran out of money and I'd spent most of the summer barefoot, so it was strange to put my shoes on and go back home.

So, was I happy at 16 years old? Not particularly, I don't think. I wasn't miserable but I didn't really enjoy college that much and was quite shy. I've had much more fun since hitting my 30 year mark :)

Monday, 15 October 2012

365/30 lists - best stationery websites

These are the sites that I could easily spend lots of money on, but thankfully I'm pretty good at resisting most of the time:

Sunday, 14 October 2012

365/30 lists: beauty products I need to try/buy

I've always been a bit of a tomboy, and it's only in the past decade that I've started becoming a bit more girly. To be honest, I'm not really sure I get the whole beauty product thing even though I'm female. All these adverts claiming this and that, and I don't really believe that some lotion or potion will stop me looking my age. I'm not too worried about getting older and as my late Nan would say, I plan to grow old disgracefully!

I did go through a stage of feeling like I should wear make up, but currently I just don't think I need to wear it. All of my stuff is fairly unused and pretty ancient, so I think that it probably needs binning anyway. I quite like lip gloss, but I'm just really not fussed at the moment.

So, to answer the question of beauty products I need to try/buy - none!  

Saturday, 13 October 2012

365/30 lists: favourite pens/pencils

During one of my decluttering sessions, I got out my pencil case expecting to find lots in there and to my surprise, it only had about three old pens in it! I love stationery, but this really was evidence for me that I actually don't buy much. All my other pens are kept in a metal pot next to my PC and I'm pretty impressed as I used to own lots more and have have either sold, given them away or used them up.

Here are my favourites:

Online blue lagoon fountain pen
This was a Christmas gift from my husband and the gorgeous blue colours remind me of scuba diving and the sea (his reason for choosing it). This would be my all time favourite if I could use bottled ink with it, but the barrel is quite short and it becomes a full sized pen when you add the top. I use it mainly for writing in my journal as the ink (WH Smith ink cartridges) doesn't do that well on filofax paper unfortunately. No bleed through, but it just sits on top of the paper and isn't as easy to read compared with when written on normal paper.

Pink Lamy Safari fountain pen with fine nib
My faithful Lamy Safari... I'm not really into pink, but this is such a cheery colour and writes so well for its cost. At the same time, I purchased a converter and am currently using up some old bottled Quink ink that I've had since prep school! I find that the Quink ink gets on better with filofax paper than the WH Smith ink, so I've used this in most of my filofaxes, but sadly the pen clip is much too fat to fit in slimline pen loops (sad face).

Pilot G2 limited edition
I've been a fan of the Pilot G2 for quite some time and snapped up this limited edition for a bargain price on eBay. I had wanted the silver barrel, but this was so cheap that it seemed silly to pay more for the colour and the gold has really grown on me now. It's a lovely pen, but is on sabbatical as it's run out of ink and I've told myself I can't buy a refill until I use up my other gel pens, Pilot V5 Hi-Tecpoint 0.5 and Pilot V Ball Grip.

Muji 0.7 gel ink in blue
This was a purchase at the recent London Philofaxy meet up. I love the minimal and translucent design, it's cheap, fits in filofax pen loops easily and writes well. I'd happily buy more of these if I didn't already own some other gel ink pens.

Friday, 12 October 2012

365/30 lists - celebrities I would like to meet

I'm not sure that there's anyone that I really want to get together with, but I guess it would be maybe fun to meet the cast of the Big Bang Theory or Buffy the Vampire Slayer as I'm a big fan of both. I guess if Joss Whedon was in town, I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to see him but I'm generally not too bothered about meeting celebrities. The last famous person I spotted was Hugh Dennis who was minding his own business on the tube :)

Thursday, 11 October 2012

365/30 lists: places to visit this month

Well, looking at my diary these are the sorts of places I'll be going:

  • The Cart and Horses pub for a little get together 
  • A couple of aikido seminars - one of our own and the other is to celebrate Piers Cooke's 30th year of practising, teaching, living and breathing aikido
  • Our local charity shop as I'm planning on getting rid of more stuff
  • The church hall to donate blood - I don't enjoy it, but figure it's something worthwhile doing
  • Getting together with my Dad, step-Mum and family for a birthday 
  • Going somewhere for the day for my wonderful husband's birthday
  • The library as I quite fancy seeing what Terry Pratchett books they have in
  • I was considering going somewhere local to try on the Doc Martens I kinda like, but I'm on an 'essentials only' month so that's on hold.
I don't really have many other places I'm planning to visit, but would like to spend more time at home decluttering and going through all my stuff.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

365/30 lists - favourite films

These are always subject to change, but they are currently:

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

365/30 lists - fancy dress ideas

  • Gotta respect some steampunk
  • Awesome Weeping Angel costumes here and here 
  • I'm a geek, so pretty much love anything from DragonCon.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Sunday, 7 October 2012

365/30 lists - Halloween party ideas

To be honest, I don't tend to do much at Halloween. I don't think we went trick or treating when I was a kid and it seemed to be a bigger thing in the U.S then, I think. So, I'm afraid I'm not even thinking about it as I'll be going to aikido class that night instead!

Here's some cool stuff on Pinterest instead though on the subject :)
And some stuff for your dog to wear!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

365/30 lists - perfect music playlist

A bit of this and that...

Friday, 5 October 2012

365/30 lists - what would you take on a desert island?

Practical items aside, I think it would have to be a book, a pen and a notenook. I did consider replacing the notebook with a filofax, but I wouldn't mind as much if the notebook got full of sand or got eaten by the local wildlife!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

365/30 lists - five most craved Filofaxes

Hmm, this is a tricky one! Compared with some people, I don't think I tend to crave filofaxes really but am quite fickle. I'll change my mind, sell the one out of favour and then kinda find my way to the next one.  Currently I'd like to find something with perfect rings in a colour I like and keep it free of junk, and processed regularly.

Not quite the right answer, but I'm decluttering and want to reduce my belongings and to be happier with less. I find I quite enjoy looking at other people's filos on Flickr or on blogs, but generally I'm quite content. That all said, I do love the look of the Amazona, Osterley and Finchley, but don't really feel the need to own one. With my minimalist head on, I don't 'need' any more filofaxes, but am currently more focussed on making whatever I own work instead.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Everything is training

We've started some additional training with another aikido club and I set off by myself in the car, directions on the passenger seat and looking forward to class. I've only been there once before, but I'm normally fairly happy finding my way around places without sat nav. My challenging journey that night has made me realise that focus is great, but without flexibility we can easily become bogged down and stuck. Driving along, I saw signs that said 'road closed ahead' but assumed it wasn't the main road as there wasn't any details of a diversion route. I happily bimbled along and eventually found that it was the main route. For some reason, I'd been feeling a bit more emotional that day than normal, and that seemed to be the last straw! In disbelief, I tried to find a parking space to pull into so that I could have a look at the map to find an alternative route. It wasn't just me as cars were going round the roundabout, pulled up on the side in the way and no spaces were available, so I found a suitable side road to stop in.

I realise now that I was a bit outraged at the road closure, "How dare they close it?!" It was the only route I'd considered and I don't know the area at all. I sat for a short while and decided to drive back out and try another way to get past the closed section of the road. Off I went (fuming) and twice tried this tactic, only to successively manage to get further up the road but still thwarted by the roadworks. Then trying to think a bit more logically, I headed back out to eventually find some diversion signs. I followed these for a while, but turned round as it was taking me too far in the opposite direction and I would've ended up back home.

By this time, I had calmed down but had been driving so long that I needed the loo. I pulled into a space in the station car park and then noticed a pub right behind me that I didn't notice earlier in my strop. After a toilet break, advice about directions and a brief chat with my husband, I was ready to go. For a brief moment, I was tempted to just go back home but after some self-talk of, "So, you're just going to give up and go home? I tried to get to class, but the road was closed and I couldn't find my way??! Hmm, not going to happen! I may have missed some of class already, but I was closer to my destination than home. Somehow that seemed to bring me to my senses and the way to go was very easy as it was so busy for a tiny lane at that time of night.

I got to class and after a short warm up I really enjoyed my practice as normal. Before getting onto the mat, I visualised my route back and it worked like a charm as I found my way home quite easily. My travelling time that night was nearly three hours, which means I got an hour of training for my time but it was still definitely worth it. I struggled with the fact that I had to change my plans without much notice, and I think if I'd accepted this more easily I would've found the whole experience easier.

Once upon a time, I'd joke with my husband that he says, "It's a bit like aikido..." fairly often, but over time exactly the same thing has happened to me. My experience that night can be compared to ukemi practice and if you're not ready to change direction or follow where the movement is going, you can get yourself into trouble. Stubbornly deciding on where you're going to go isn't following your partner, and at a higher level of training means you could get hurt due to lack of awareness from being too committed in the wrong direction! In the past I used to be determined, but it could be with gritted teeth and mainly sheer willpower alone. It sure doesn't sound like much fun to me now, and I think getting frustrated with my route to class was a good reminder to not be too rigidly fixed in my attitude.        

365/30 lists - favourite Filofaxes

My bronze A5 Domino Snake. I have some more posts to write for Philofaxy as it's all a bit up in the air at the moment... One returned due to faulty rings and two purchased from eBay, with the idea of selling one when I decide on which I like the best!

I haven't really had the new purchases from eBay long enough to make a decision yet... Philofaxy post to come :)

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

365/30 lists - who would you want to be stuck in a lift with?

  • My husband
  • Someone like Ethan Hunt or Batman - they'd have the kit to get us out of there
  • HH the Dalai Lama
  • Maruyama Sensei (founder of Aikido Yuishinkai) - he's a lovely man and maybe we'd have some time for aikido 
  • My wonderful friends, Tanya and Hanka - we'd have fun wherever we are :) 

Monday, 1 October 2012

365/30 lists - goals for the month

The fabulous Kate and Imy have set up 365/30 lists for Philofaxers, which is based on the 30 days of lists idea but it has been made for Filofax and stationery fans! You can find the Facebook group here. I really enjoyed doing the April A-Z Challenge, so thought I'd join in for October for something different to do. The daily topics for October are here (or you can find them on the Facebook group) and each month they will set by someone different.

Day 1 is goals for the month:
  1. Complete 365/30 lists and publish the day's post on time on blog
  2. Finish off prep for my tax return and file it online - boring, but important 
  3. Carry on my daily meditation
  4. Get my email to zero - nearly there
  5. Work on my declutter project more
  6. Increase my running mileage slowly up to two runs a week
  7. Have some life coaching from my awesome friend, Tanya
  8. Sort out what I'm doing with my filofaxes! - blog posts to follow on Philofaxy 
  9. Limit my spending to essential purchases only - more info here and aikido training is definitely considered essential!
And that's probably enough... I could easily carry on, but I'd like to actually achieve them and could easily overload myself :)